Thursday, March 27, 2014

SOL Day 27: The Food Tour of Northwest Ohio

In yesterday's post, I wrote about my family's love of travel. Unfortunately, we don't have the means to do a lot of travel these days. After all, I am a teacher (and make a teacher's salary) and my husband is a film critic and freelance writer (which comes with an inconsistent salary.) If we want to take big trips, we have to save for it. So, we have gotten pretty creative over the last several years in order to get away.

During the summer we do "Staycations" rather than vacations. Now, these aren't the staycations that you might think of. They aren't just an excuse to sit around in our pajamas and do nothing all day. We actually plan things for every day of our staycation. We modeled this after a stay we had at a timeshare in Hilton Head. Every day, they posted a schedule of organized activities. We thought that was a great idea, so when we do our staycations, we post a schedule that includes a craft or activity (such as a family game), the menu for dinner, a movie, etc. We also throw in a visit to an amusement park, or the zoo, or the pool.

For Spring Break three years ago, we decided to do an overnight trip to Toledo. We live in Columbus, OH so Toledo, OH is about three hours away. It also happens to be about thirty minutes north of where my husband and I went to college, at Bowling Green State University. We thought that Toledo was as good a short-drive destination as any, so we headed there for our overnight stay. As we were driving north, we first came upon Mom Wilson's Country Sausage, a little roadside country store that had homemade meats and cheeses. We stopped in and got some delicious summer sausage and sliced cheeses. It was a nice little stop that gave us a delicious road trip snack.

Continuing north, we eventually came to another roadside stop in the form of Coon's Candies. This is another country store, but this time has homemade candies. Their specialty is many different flavors of fudge. They have lots of other kinds of candies as well as country knick-knacks, the the fudge is the real draw. After selecting about 8 different flavors of fudge, we were on our way. I also have to mention that, included in our bag of fudge, the owner included several plastic knives for the convenience of cutting and distributing fudge during the drive.

Our next stop was BGSU where we stopped to show our boys where we met. We drove around campus and showed them our dorm and various classroom buildings. We even parked and walked around campus, where we came upon the university seal. This seal is at the juncture of many different paths near the student union. It is said that if a couple stands on the seal and kisses, they will be together forever. Yep, you guessed it. Way back in the early 1990's we did just that. Those of us who meet at BGSU and marry have the distinction of being called "Falcon Flames" (as our mascot is the falcon.)

Once we walked around campus a little more, we headed to our favorite pizza place, Campus Pollyeyes. Here they serve the best breadsticks. It was a tradition when I was in college that, on moving in day, my roommate and I would order Pollyeyes breadsticks. However, they have improved upon them since we were there. They now have stuffed breadsticks. They will put any pizza toppings inside the breadsticks before baking. They are AMAZING!!!

After leaving BG, we continued north to our final destination of Toledo. One of the things we don't do on our travels, which helps to save us money, is book a hotel room ahead of time. We get those hotel coupon books at a gas station or rest area and just stop somewhere listed in the book and see if we can get a room. Once we left Bowling Green, we just started looking for a place. Once we locate a place and get settled in, we relax a bit until dinner time when we head to another favorite from college, Tony Packo's.

If you've never heard of Tony Packo's, it's an ethnic restaurant that specializes in Hungarian cooking. They here. Whenever a famous person eats there, they sign a hot dog bun which is then encased in plastic and mounted on the wall as a display. They have hundreds of these signed buns all over the restaurant. They have really great hot dogs, cabbage rolls, fried pickles, chili cheese fries, and much more. If you ever watched the television M*A*S*H, Jamie Farr (who is from Toledo) mentioned Tony Packo's which led to several more mentions, including the series finale. You can read more about Tony Packo's and the M*A*S*H connection

As you can see, there was a bit of a pattern to our trip. It all came back to food. So, we dubbed this the "Food Tour of Northwest Ohio." One thing we Carrs enjoy is our food! Now, if we aren't able to take a "real" trip somewhere, we embark on another installment of this journey. (These are pictures from this year's trip. Although we went to BG, we didn't make it on to campus this time.) You might not think that a road trip to Toledo, OH is very exciting and you'd be right. But, it does give us something our family needs, time together. For one thing, the boys love staying in a hotel. They enjoy spending time in the pool, staying up late watching TV in their beds, and the continental breakfast that most hotels offer with the price of the room. Our oldest, especially, enjoys sitting in the back of the car with his headphones on, just listening to music. He doesn't even mind the cramped quarters in the back with his brothers.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful way to spend some family time! I love all your thrifty ideas that turn out to be memories that will last a lifetime. Similar vacations with my family as a child have stayed with me forever. Your children are very lucky!!

  2. Marking this post for my next trip northwest. I really do need to try these places you always rave about!